Penticton hockey legend Ivan McLelland reflects on his memories of Memorial Arena during a recent tour of the iconic facility for members of the public. The Arena Task Force reported to council on its initial findings, including public feedback on the future of Memorial Arena. Mark Brett/Western News Penticton hockey legend Ivan McLelland reflects on his memories of Memorial Arena during a morning tour of the iconic facility for members of the public Thursday. City council will decide in the future whether to replace or repair the structure. Mark Brett/Western News

Arena Task Force reports in

Arena Task Force brings initial recommendations to Penticton city council

There is still a lot of work to be done, but the Arena Task Force is asking Penticton city council to endorse some preliminary findings as a basis for future work by the committee.

Key among their early findings is that all four ice surfaces — Memorial, McLaren, the community rink and the main South Okanagan Events Centre ice — are heavily utilized and the city needs to maintain at least that many in order to continue providing existing services and programs. Penticton Minor Hockey Association has a presence at all four rinks, especially Memorial Arena but much of that is due to the Okanagan Hockey Group, which is a major user of every ice surface except McLaren.

OHG accounts for 35 per cent of all ice time, about 90 per cent of which is in non-prime hours. The hockey academy is expected to use $535,000 worth of ice time in 2017.

More: Memorial Arena opens doors to the past

Responding to a question from Coun. Andre Martin, task force chair Stewart Ladyman said he wasn’t of the opinion council had pre-decided the fate of Memorial Arena.

“If I was, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now,” said Ladyman. “I wouldn’t waste my time.”

Ladyman added that he didn’t think members of the task force all had firm opinions on what should be done with Memorial.

Feedback gathered through engagement activities includes that many residents see the history of Memorial Arena as important and would like to better understand the options and investment required before any decision was made. Ladyman said opinions ranged from one young community member saying it had to be kept to others wanting to see a new rink.

Other concepts the task force wants the city to endorse include multi-purpose facilities that can be used year round, with regulation-size surfaces and ceiling heights, seating for up to 400 spectators and a desired location on the SOEC campus for sports tourism opportunities.

Stewart Ladyman, chair of the task force, said two of the existing arenas are not regulation size, and one doesn’t have regulation ceiling height.

“That creates issues if we want to bring in outside teams,” said Ladyman, referring to the sports tourism potential of Penticton’s arenas. New arenas, he continued, are being constructed to regulation sizes, with the ability to expand and accessibility features. They also have fewer spectator seats, noting the community rink has a 500-seat capacity, and Memorial has 2,000.

“Memorial has too many seats if you want to keep it. You’ve got SOEC if you need something big,” said Ladyman.

To that end, the task force recommends an arena feasibility study on options to build a new arena on the SOEC campus and to continue assessing Memorial and McLaren arenas, and create a more detailed analysis including cost estimates for keeping the buildings operating in the long and short term.

More: Memorial Arena numbers estimates at this point

The task force is expected to present final options and recommendations to city council in June. Information about their work is available online at Shapeyourcitypenticton.ca/arenataskforce.According to the task force report, there have been 1600 visits to the site, 200 documents downloaded and just nine ideas submitted.

Just Posted

Penticton patient care tower fundraising going strong

About $14.3 million in donations for the Penticton hospital has come in

Exercising her right to fight

Thinking inside the box helped push Geneva Kostashen through cancer treatment

Council approves all tax exemption requests

List includes charities, service groups and the Penticton Golf and Country Club

Day 2 of RCMP search at Silver Creek residence

Police use backhoe in ongoing search effort at residential/agricultural Salmon River Road property

TGIF: South Okanagan concerts and events

Live theatre, concerts, events, art exhibits and more from around the South Okanagan

Mixing up local talent and cocktails

The annual Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery Mixoff takes place in Kelowna in November

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Bantam Vees tournament good prep for start of the season

Penticton hockey team heads into regular season with just one loss in nine exhibition games

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

Michaels: The case for a little less #MeToo and a little more, ‘it’s them’

It shouldn’t be women’s responsibility to continually point out the prevalence of predatory behaviour.

Most Read